• It's all in the Family

    by Grady Mitchell

    As their name suggests, this Los Angeles quartet operates as a family unit, with all the benefits and pitfalls that entails, according to drummer Sebastien Keefe.

    “We live together, we travel together, we love each other unconditionally. We have problems like families, we bicker like siblings. Some people act like parents, some people act like children.”

    By “some people,” he means that guitarist James Buckey fills the role of bereaved father, while guitarist Joe Keefe, drummer Sebastien (Joe’s actual brother, biologically-speaking), and keyboardist Christina Schroeter are the lovably unruly children. 

    That sense of blood-coursing youth, energy, and wonder permeates their music, an uncontrived west-coast sound with graceful harmonics and lyrics reveling in golden days, bright nights, fresh heartbreaks and blooming romances. Songs like “St. Croix” give 60’s beach-bum idleness a new-millennial update with the cheesily infectious chorus “You bring the ocean/I’ll bring the motion/Together we’ll make a love potion.” On “The Stairs,” opening track to their latest release, Loma Vista, they toast the simple joys of cigarettes, drinks and friends, and justify their vagabonding ways with a catchy hook: “They made the sunrise for people like us/So we have an excuse as to why we’re still up.”

    Family of the Year do not fear tackling tougher material, although they do it with their essential upbeat attitude. “Buried” is an unapologetic and cheerful acceptance of death in which Joe sings, “Nothing ever changes/I’ll be happier than hell in hell,” and proceeds to list the inventory he’d like buried alongside him in his casket. “Hey Ma” is the only truly somber song on Loma Vista, a sober letter home, although seemingly uncertain of ever reaching that destination, containing a message to those still there. And as if they just couldn’t resist, even that song crescendos with powerful guitars and a chanting chorus.

    While tracks like these lend the album flexibility and depth, it’s on the simply joyful songs that Family of the Year excels. Not surprisingly, those songs have drawn the strongest attention as well, including flattering comparisons to the touchstone for any band with sand between their toes: The Beach Boys. It’s a compliment Sebastien finds hugely flattering, but one he’s careful to take realistically.

    “We all, particularly Joe and I, listened to the Beach Boys growing up, and we still do a lot. Moving to southern California has shaped our music. We’ve never made it to sound a certain way, that’s just how it turned out.”

    The band lived together in a rundown LA house while recording Loma Vista, which was released in July.

    “That was when we really solidified who we were,” says Sebastien.“We were writing this record and living each moment together. We really just hunkered down and learned how to get along the right way.”

    While this isn’t the Family’s first year as a band, it’s looking to be their biggest yet. They just returned from Les Vieilles Charrues, one of the premiere music festivals in France, and they’re set to begin a cross-Canada tour with Hey Ocean in the near future.

    What’s next for Sebastien and the rest of the Family? “Touring. Just touring, touring, touring.”

  • Dubstep: the porn of music

    Dubstep: the porn of music

    Words by Brad Michelson // Graphic by Ryan Haak.

    Have you ever noticed that dubstep is kind of like porn? No? Well, think about it.

    When someone talks about their interest in dubstep, they’re often given the same looks that people get if they openly discuss their porn obsession. You often hear them use the same adjectives to describe the two, like “dirty,” “hardcore” or “wob-wob” (an equivalent to “fap-fap”). Not to mention, they both keep a heavy beat, raise your pulse and get your juices flowing.

    I don’t often listen to it, but when I do, I’m generally alone in my room with headphones on. Reminiscent of a 16-year-old exploring his sexuality in the confines of his man-cave; your body often gets into the rhythm of the music, moving along with the beat. Then, suddenly, someone walks in and sees you “rocking-out.” The person panics, rushes out of the room, and closes the door behind them. Now, red-faced for a variety of reasons, you’re left with a tough choice: do you give in to your embarrassment and put your iPod away, or do you pretend it didn’t happen and continue from where you left off?

    It’s not much different in a group setting. When you’re hanging out with a group at a friend’s house, someone will inevitably make a joke about either dubstep or porn. That’s when that guy springs to action. That guy is the friend in every group who gets a little too excited. He will grab the closest laptop, put on his favourite song, and spout some pretentious rant along the lines of, “Dude, you have to check out this new Bassnectar track. It’s so filthy, man. Well, it’s not exactly his. It’s a remix of a project that Unicorn Kid did with Jon Gooch a few years back when they were performing at Ibiza.”

    After searching through YouTube to find the right version of the track, he jumps up the video quality to 720p expecting it to sound better though the crappy laptop speakers. As the track starts to pick up, that guy scans the room, expecting everyone to get as into it as he is, making at least one person completely and utterly uncomfortable (but doesn’t say anything in fear of making it weird for everyone else). That person just sits on the side and nods along to the confusing jargon-riddled conversation happening over the sounds of ’90s computer modems making love. Be considerate — don’t force your friends to listen to dubstep. It gets awkward, just like porn.

    The only logical place that porn is socially acceptable in a group setting would be at an orgy, which seems eerily similar to a Skrillex concert. The audience is a mixed bunch. There are people dressed in scandalous clothes and others popping pills to improve their performance and experience. The event goes on into the early hours of the morning, when concert-goers are completely spent and dehydrated. And to top it all off, the creepy ringleader is a former emo icon with a haircut that makes you wonder if he has ever owned a mirror.

    In the end, dubstep and porn are just two industries offering products and services that allow people to go wild and explore a hidden side of themselves. There will always be a perverted sub-culture to both, pushing their popularities into the mainstream for the masses to exploit and get off on.

    After all, we’re all just waiting for the drop.

  • Feast Or Famine Contest!

    FromTheGarage is teaming up with everybody's favourite Edmontonian ska-punk band, Feast Or Famine, to present the latest in FTG contests. One lucky winner will receive a FoF t-shirt and signed CD. All you have to do to enter is 'like' and comment on the contest post on the FromTheGarage.net Facebook page. You can find that post by clicking here.

    Good luck and happy posting!

  • Behind Sapphire Contest!

    Behind Sapphire Contest!

    In light of our recently redesign of FromTheGarage.net, we've teamed up with Vancouver's Behind Sapphire to offer a chance to win one of two signed copies of the band's self-titled album. All you have to do to win is Tweet your favourite Behind Sapphire song, followed by the hashtag #FTGContests. Then voila! You're done.

    Contest ends August 14 at midnight. Winners will be chosen at random and contacted through Twitter, so keep an eye on those @replys.

    While you're here, check out the videos we filmed with the band recently:


    Good luck!

  • Perfecting the Unconventional

    Perfecting the Unconventional

    by Jeff McAllister

    It’s not easy being a fusion band. To lack an explicit genre—be it for record store cataloguing purposes, or for stylistic touchstones—can be to lack an identity. How many times have you attempted to describe an eclectic new act, only to fall short of adjectives? How often do you ask for an album at your local record store, only to be directed to that dreaded collect-all: Alternative. For Tiny Danza – a five-piece hip-hop-soul fusion act out of Toronto, this is a regular occurrence.

    Drums x Synth x Guitar x Soul x Rap - the band’s description of its sound—a brand of soul steeped hip-hop that sounds a bit like Lupe Fiasco meets Maroon 5 with a shot of testosterone. Any shorter and something crucial gets left out: rap-rock, rock-hop?

    “It says party-rock in our band description,” says Galen Hogg, the group’s emcee, with a bit of a chuckle. “We have to ditch that. When you’re describing the band, people will say, ‘Oh, kind of like Linkin Park,’ and that’s when I have to say, ‘No, not at all.’”

    Luckily, such limitations pertain only to vocabulary. Tiny Danza’s sound is as unique as it is unpredictable. Funky guitars coalesce around sunny Donny Hathaway-esque keys. Crooning hooks stitch together careless rhymes. You Could Have It All…, the band’s debut, released this June , is very much an extension of its environment, Toronto, where the band came of age.

    “I grew up in a very hip-hop based neighbourhood,” says Hogg, “and I’ve had the luck to bump into a lot of different genres just by going to the shows with friends.”

    Despite worshiping hip-hop milestones, like the Wu-Tang Clan’s 36 Chambers, Hogg can currently be found with Regina Spector’s Soviet Kitsch on repeat.

    “Just listening to music like that—which is really outside of the box, yet so beautiful—has made me try to make my raps and my rhythmic parts a little more interesting. But you’ll have to wait until the next album for more influences on that one.”

    You read that right, You Could Have It All… has been out for just over a month, and already there’s a follow-up in the works. And apparently it promises to be even more genre bending than the band’s last effort.

    “We’re stepping out of the box even more. We’ve got a song in 7 rather than 4/4, which is what the most typical hip-hop time signature is. It’s out there.”

    Not bad, considering that the group’s first LP took 4 years. Still, a lot could change: Tiny Danza is one of few five-piece acts to evenly split song-writing duties between all 5 members.

    “We are all so different and so opinionated. There’s a lot of butting heads over what should be, and what sounds right.”

    Despite the occasional criticism, the band seems to be doing just fine.

    Beat Fly, You Could Have it All…’s first single was recently authored for Rockband, after the band won a listener judged radio contest. And although the band has been busy playing real music, they’re excited to see how the transposition came out:

    “We’ve got it downloaded at our guitarist Matt Russo’s house on his Playstation, and we’re going to go for it soon, but we want to do it all together.”

    As for more lofty goals: “eventually some people will maybe come up with a genre for us and stick us in there,” says Hogg. But until then, Tiny Danza will keep on perfecting the unconventional. What else can you expect from a band whose very name is a fusion between a boxer turned tv-star, and a sequined seventies queen?

  • We’re not listening - Exploring the disconnect between the music industry and consumers

    by Brad Michelson

    The music industry is faltering. Bands don’t know if a life of rock-and-roll is a viable economic future to pursue and newly established, grassroots record companies are finding it hard to pick up the slack. The only people seeing marginal success are our favourite industry antagonists: the major record labels.

    Still, marginal is the key word. Music sales are down. Concert ticket and merchandise sales are down. Even downloads are down. If it’s not free, no one wants it. There doesn’t seem to be a clear way out of this tempest of an industry recession. The labels are finding excuses to point fingers, but it’s evident that consumption trends have changed and the systems that have been established over the last decade are just not working for them.

    Shifting Gears

    The music industry has always fought technology, fearing its effects.

    “Traditionally, the record industry has never embraced a new high-tech format,” said SteveKnopper, contributing editor for Rolling Stone and author of Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Industry in the Digital Age. “They resisted radio. They resisted recorded music, period. They wanted to stick to sheet music.”

    When piracy and file sharing took off a decade ago, record companies began freaking out about how this new kind of music sharing would affect their sales. After a period of resistance, there was talk of the industry collectively developing a new format for digital music.

    One of these formats was known as MusicDNA. This new digital file had the same audio quality as a regular mp3, but also the ability for added metadata, such as lyrics, artwork, blog posts and videos to enhance the user’s experience. The kicker: the technology prevented the file from being copied or shared.

    But the format never seemed to catch on through any major music service or company. This could partially be due to the fact that MusicDNA was supposed to rival Apple’s iTunes LP, a format that offers similar added content.

    “[They knew] that to expand their business, they had to introduce a new format,” said Knop- per. “What they didn’t count on was a format being forced upon them against their will by the public, and of course, that was the mp3.”

    Resistance has been one of the fatal flaws of the industry. In the past, the music industry has developed new platforms for listening, buying and enjoying music. The last 50 years have seen four different major formats: vinyl, cassettes, CDs and mp3s. Each of those, be- cause of the mass cultural popularity of music, had a 10- to 15-year shelf life before a new medium took over.

    This trend has been broken by the mp3. It is the industry’s fault for tolerating the expired shelf life of the format. The longer something is around, the more likely people will find a way to exploit it.

    Musical Pirates

    Piracy is something that the music industry needs to come to terms with. Piracy can’t be contained, stopped, dismantled or fought — at least not right now. The argument being made by the record companies is that governments with lax copyright laws are enabling ‘criminals’ to ‘steal’ music. The problem for them is that once one website or service gets taken down, two more pop up in its place. What makes it even worse for lawmakers is that these sites are structured in a way that almost always slip through cracks in the host country’s legal system.

    One of the most popular cases of this is Sweden’s seemingly eternal battle with the popular torrent site The Pirate Bay. The site was rated the 17th most popular website in 2008. This file-sharing flagship has been under constant attack from its home country because of its popularity. But they haven’t just sat back and taken their legal beatings; The Pirate Bay has been using legal loopholes in Swedish law to get out of trouble for years. These extend to the point where they were protected by diplomatic immunity by using the Pirate Party’s headquarters to host its servers inside the walls of the Swedish Parliament building. Even with this seemingly institutionalized medium for finding and distributing music throughout the world, there are still people who argue against it and suggest more of a cooperative approach.

    “Let me start by saying that I’m not pro-copyright infringement,” said Knopper. “I actually think it was appropriate when the music industry sued the entities that were guilty of piracy. What I could criticize the industry for is not seeing the digital download market as an opportunity. Instead, they just rode the CD model all the way into the ground.”

    But what has previously been seen as a two-sided battle has recently seen signs of peace — at least in the film industry. Paramount Pictures, one of the biggest studios in Hollywood, has teamed up with bit torrent sites, like The Pirate Bay, to distribute their new film, The Tunnel. The movie is being financed through crowd sourcing, allowing people to buy a frame of the movie. With about 135,000 frames, that’s a lot of funding. While the crowd-sourcing isn’t big news, the partnership with file-sharing sites is. If they can do it, and potentially make it work, why can’t the music industry?

    Lack of Initiative

    When was the last time that the music industry did anything that changed the way you experi- ence music? No, the sexification of music post-Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” video doesn’t count. The vinyl resurgence of the past few years was exactly that — a resurgence. And long form music videos have been around since the ’80s.

    In reality, there has been little new creative initiative. This is because of a lack of creative in- novation in the higher layers of the industry.

    “Doug Morrison, recently of Universal, has said pretty publicly that there aren’t that many technologists at the top layers of the music business. There were a bunch towards the bottom,” said Knopper. “These guys were not guys who were going to go into the labs and say, ‘Let’s concoct a new technology.’ They weren’t Steve Jobs characters.”

    Knopper, like many industry critics, believes that there was a period about 10 years ago when the music industry had a chance to innovate, but failed to do so.

    “At the time that Napster came around, 1999-2000, the record industry was at its absolute peak. ’N Sync, Justin Timberlake, Eminem and Britney Spears, all those guys were selling seven, eight, nine, 10 million records in their first week. Those were just crazy numbers that we will almost certainly never ever see again. In addition to that, [the industry] had this amazing business model [where they] put out, one, two, three good songs by an act, and sell it on a $15 to $18 CD. They were making money hand over fist. Nobody in the industry wanted it to stop.”

    The industry took a look at the new emerging model for music, working with a ‘free,’ or nearly free model, earning money off touring and merchandise with very little from music sales, and chose to resist it.

    “The music industry looked at that and said, ‘No way do we want to go down that road. We’re making money hand over fist. We’re huge. We have bulletproof limos. We’re super rich guys. There’s no reason we should [do that].’”

    But the plan to make money off downloads has had complications. In order to change things, the companies would have needed to re-negotiate the artists’ contracts.

    “You can’t just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to start selling Beatles music online.’ As we’ve seen, you can’t do that. You need to get the permission from all the Beatles, their publisher, their record label, etc.,” said Knopper. “That whole thing was a very complicated process. Nobody in the music industry was really excited about moving in that direction because of all those complicated things.”

    Channels of Distribution

    One question surrounding the music industry is the labels’ use of distribution channels. Over the last few years, hundreds of online avenues for distributing and discovering music (both legal and not) have emerged online and in print media. By now, the four major record labels (EMI, Universal, Warner, and Sony) have missed the wave.

    “One key thing that they should have done was to make a deal with Napster. At its peak in 2000, there was something like 20 million users on Napster.”

    In his book, Knopper goes through all the hypothetical numbers, outlining how much money the industry actually would have made if they had teamed up with companies like Napster and began offering people paid subscription services.

    “You would have probably lost certain people who like the radical, anti-establishment part of Napster, and you would have lost, just simply, people who like to get music for free,” said Knopper. “But again, think about Facebook as if it was built around music and you could actually download songs and share playlists. Instead of sharing music through videos on YouTube, which is kind of how you do it now on Facebook, each time you make a transaction like that, it makes money for the music industry.”

    It’s a revolutionary idea, but Knopper acknowledges that it’s easy to point fingers and criticize with 20/20 hindsight. For the labels, it’s all about the money. Without it, there are no means for them to continue their operations, a sympathetic angle even to the staunchest pro-piracy advocates.

    “I actually think that the music industry would love a $10-a-month-subscription service at this point. But the question is, will consumers go along with it now that they are used to the Apple model and getting all their music for free?”

    We may be able to see how this works out in the near future. Apple is rumoured to be launch- ing its paid, cloud-based music service this summer. Whether it will catch on or radically change the industry is anybody’s guess.

    For now, the industry is in a wait-and-see mode. No one is willing to gamble on attempting to institutionalize a new business model for fear that the public won’t latch on.

    Who Needs A Label?

    The usefulness of record labels is a widely-argued industry topic today. Some say that to get a song on the radio or a video on MTV, you need the media contacts of a label. However, some bands say that they can make more of a living without representation.

    “I think it depends on what kind of band you want to be,” said Knopper. “The most efficient way to [become] a Justin Timberlake or a Lady Gaga is . . . to sign with a label. [For] everybody else who doesn’t want to do that . . . there are many more resources for marketing online and touring and all these different things to make money than there used to be.”

    In fact, many superstar bands that used to associate with record labels have parted ways with their old business partners and decided to go forth on their own accord. This extends from Radiohead (with their pay-what-you-want-model, making up the money on concert sales), to Trent Reznor with Nine Inch Nails (after his public split with Interscope Records, he encouraged fans to steal music and share it with their friends), as well as bands like Weezer and OK Go.

    But How Does This Apply To Newer Bands?

    “What they basically have to do is focus on making good music, putting their name out there, and touring a lot,” explained Knopper. “Once they come to the crossroads of [whether to] sign with a label or not, that’s where they have to decide what kind of artist they want to be. If you want to be Lady Gaga, you probably have to. If you want to be Mumford and Sons, you probably don’t.”

    But Mumford and Sons, and similar bands, are part of a small percentage of acts that are popular despite being signed to smaller independent labels. Knopper cites Arcade Fire as another example. These groups, much like superstar bands, already have a die-hard indie following who will like them regardless of whether they play at the Grammys or not. This doesn’t apply to newer independent bands, however.

    Most bands work for years for the chance to sign with a major label. One of these bands was a group from Vancouver called The Februarys. The Febs were one of the lower mainland’s most promising rock acts, constantly selling out shows wherever they played in B.C. After releasing two albums, the band was offered a contract with Canadian label, Wind-Up Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music, in 2008. The group quickly moved to Toronto. They began writing and recording their next record in Nashville, Tenn., and released a music video for the single off the upcoming record.

    After a year of production setbacks, delays and a lack of gigs, the Febs were part of a seldom-discussed dropping of bands from Wind-Up’s repertoire. Since then, the band seems to have ceased to exist. Although this mass forced exodus of record label-backing is rumoured to be due to a drop in funding or low record sales for the label, stories like these are a deterrent for up-and-coming bands.

    The Search For The Next Big Thing

    The near future of the music industry is up for debate. Critics are past pointing fingers at the major labels for not updating the format and driving the CD model into the ground for selfish reasons. Now the community is looking forward, discussing new ways for the industry to revitalize itself and hopefully recover from this multi-layered recession.

    The new ideas being discussed, tried and criticized are yet to be seen as effective. Bands are now second-guessing the usefulness of labels and have begun going at the business on their own accord, working on business models that work better for them and end with a better economic outcome. Until then, the industry will continue looking forward to the next best thing.

    “The golden goose was killed a long time ago,” said Knopper. “Now we’re dealing with, as they say, pennies instead of dollars.”

  • Alexisonfire growing up, hope audience are too.

    by Brad Michelson

    This is a .44 caliber love letter straight from my heart.

    That is a line off Alexisonfire’s self-titled first release, which became the anthem for Canadian screamo. The 2002 album cre- ated a legion of die-hard fans and popularized the genre to teenagers across the country. Eight years and four records later, Alexisonfire fan- hood has split into two opposing churches — those who live by the first record, Alexisonfire, and those who prefer the newer material.

    Alexisonfire’s music has made an obvious transition over their last two records. Fans were shocked to find their favourite post-hardcore band taking a step away from screaming and incorporating more singing and punk influences. A seemingly passive comment in an interview about “killing screamo” has only made the situation worse. It left fans feeling confused, aban- doned and frustrated with their beloved screamo kings.

    “It’s not us trying to distance ourselves from screamo. It was just us growing as a band,” said Wade MacNeil, Alexisonfire’s lead guitar- ist. “We’re just interested in trying some new things. There are a lot of things we keep from record-to- record [and] there are things we always try to build on. It’s just us trying to get better.”

    Alexisonfire have diverse musical influences. The artists they emulate are those with massive repertoires and varying, non-contant styles.

    “When you’re a band that does that, you really risk alienating some people. I mean, we have, but I think at the same time a lot more people have come on-board, and I’m happy with that,” said MacNeil.

    On Nov. 2, Alexisonfire released Dog’s Blood, a four-song collection offering products of the band’s experimentation. “Vex” is a B-side off Old Crows, Young Cardinals, the band’s last release, and the remain- ing three tracks were written for the EP.

    “[‘Vex’] just didn’t fit into the context of our last record,” said

    MacNeil. “We just wanted to write something kind of ambient, and that’s our song “Grey.” Then [we wanted] two songs to put on each side that were kind of loud and thrashy, and those are “Dog’s Blood” (the EP’s title track) and “Black as Jet”.’”

    Dog’s Blood, a reference to the Wes Anderson film The Royal Tenenbaums was released via digital download and three different editions of vinyl pressings: one is being sold on

    their current Canadian tour, one on the band’s web-store, and the last through record stores around the country. All editions are limited to 2,000 copies per edition. This seems to fit Alexisonfire, as most of them are vinyl fans themselves.

    “I have a really big collection, and so does George [Pettit, Alex- isonfire’s lead vocalist]. We’re the big vinyl collectors in the band,” said MacNeil. “It just forces you to listen to it. It’s not easy to play a

    record and there’s something great about that.”

    Alexisonfire choose not to look back and instead aim their sights forward to what is to come. Having already won multiple honours, including Juno Awards, CASBY Awards, MMVA and the XM Verge Awards, the band has established its musical prowess at the top of the Canadian music charts. Screamo or not, Alexisonfire are who they are, and they are damn proud.

  • Are you constantly being haunted by the same commercials? This is why.

    by Brad Michelson

    Have you ever noticed that you seem to come by the same advertisements wherever you go? Are you noticing that the same product or company is haunting your television watching, Internet surfing, magazine flipping and radio listening? 

    The world of media advertising has been constantly evolving over the past few decades. The growth and advancement of the Internet and electronic innovations have given companies the opportunity to reach more potential consumers than ever before. There are new marketing schemes that companies are adopting. They are right in front of you, but you may not notice them until someone points them out.

    Multi-platform content, or referred to in the industry as ‘360’, is one strategy many companies have turned to to help expose themselves to the masses. 

    “360 basically means that you don’t rely on one medium at a time to get your message across,” says Brian Adler, “(You should) use many, if not all of them.” 

    Adler has been working in the media since he was a teenager, being involved in radio, television, internet podcasts and now with On Demand Production Network (OPDN), where he and his partner create online video content for companies seeking a way to keep customers and the like engaged and informed. This 360 marketing complements each medium by making sure that you cover each desired market. 

    360 marketing comes in when you want to use a ‘viral’ campaign. But what is viral marketing? Viral marketing refers to the technique of using pre-existing social networks to increase brand or product awareness. Early examples of viral marketing were those annoying forwarded e-mails you would get from your friends with some long joke and an ad for Hallmark at the end. This eventually transformed into what are now known as ‘e-cards’, which are basically virtual greeting cards you can send to your friends from a company’s website. Now viral marketing takes the form of almost anything on the Internet, including video clips (Doritos marketing on YouTube), games (Burger King X-Box 360 games), brand-software (Apple’s iTunes music player), images, and even those irritating spam text messages. 

    viral campaign takes the elements of viral marketing, and combines it with the concept of 360. 

    “Say I own a TV station and that is where my audience and advertising dollars are going to,” says Adler, “I need to give my audience an opportunity to be interactive. That’s where the online element comes in. If you own a TV show, you want to hold onto the audience beyond the 30-50 minutes of your episode. Send them to your website where you have more relevant content. Now they’re still with you beyond those minutes, and now they have the ability to visit it whenever they want.” 

    This is exactly what television networks, like ABC, are doing. They host online content of their television shows so fans can go online and watch past episodes of their favourite shows, read character bios, and then share it with their friends. 

    “The possibilities are endless for content distribution,” says Adler.

    This online content is referred to as ‘on demand content’ (ODC), and it’s very important for viral campaigns. The audience wants the power to be able to rewind, fast forward, and re-watch what they want, when they want. That’s what makes it ‘on demand’. 

    “The first time I noticed it was when I went into HMV, and saw that it was 80 bucks for a season of Seinfeld,” says Adler, ”and I thought like, ‘Wait a minute. That show is on every freakin’ channel, every freakin’ day, all day long. Why would somebody pay for that when they can get it for free?’ It’s because they want to have control. They want it on demand.”

    This is exactly why websites like YouTube and Vimeo have become so popular. 

    One of the many companies that have greatly benefitted from viral campaigning is Apple with its iTunes store. 

    “iTunes has done it better than anybody, mainly because everybody knows about it,” says Adler,”That’s what makes it work.” 

    Apple was able to catch the eye of millions of consumers by advertising on the Internet, television and print for their iPod music player. When people buy the product, it comes with a disc for Apple’s free music program, iTunes. You will find a little blurb about it at the end of the iPod television commercials. Apple has integrated a music store to the program, where people can purchase music for as low as 99 cents for a single song. 

    “When (the) iTunes (store) started, they only had limited libraries, and the PayPal service was kind of shifty,” says Adler, “People didn’t know if they trusted it. It wasn’t that convenient and there were too many opportunities for the consumer to say ‘Nah, no thanks. I’m just going to steal it for free on Limewire. I know how to work that, or maybe I’ll just go to the record store. This is too complicated.’ But (Apple) have simplified it, and made it a one stop shop.”

    Apple has been able to integrate relevant, eye-catching advertisements into the iTunes program itself. The first example of this is in the music store. On the main page, there are advertisements for newly released CDs, games, online movie and television show rentals. All of this can be accessed, purchased, and played through the iTunes program. The second example is the iTunes Genius feature. This newly integrated feature scans your iTunes music library and searches the iTunes store for content that you might be interested in purchasing to complete, or expand, your library. It will show you missing songs from an incomplete album in your library, other albums by that artist, or other artists from that genre. Apple has really outdone themselves in catching the eye of the consumers. 

    Viral campaigning, along with 360 and ODC, has swept the advertising market. Everyone from Joe Mechanic to the biggest Fortune 500 companies has adapted this marketing scheme to attract more business, label awareness and overall revenue. Next time you see that little annoying, dream haunting, cartoon character from the commercials, you will realize that you are in fact not going crazy, but that you are a victim of a company’s viral marketing campaign. Don’t forget to send them the bill for your psychotherapy sessions.